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Dobbs: Delta variant to blame for largest surge in COVID-19 admissions in more than a month

Published: Jul. 6, 2021 at 9:03 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - As COVID-19 vaccinations slow to a trickle, cases of the highly-contagious Delta variant of the virus keep surging in Mississippi, leading to the biggest uptick in hospital admissions in over a month, according to State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs.

Data from the state’s department of health shows Delta cases increased 75 percent over last week: 137 cases have been confirmed in the state, with 90 percent of those in Hinds, Madison and Rankin counties.

At St. Dominic’s Hospital in Jackson, they’re seeing that uptick, too, in patients and team members with the virus.

“We’re trying to stay in a state of preparedness. We keep our units that are cohorted for COVID patients ready with our negative pressure rooms and those things, we’ve never taken those down,” said Tandra Marburgh, senior director of quality for the hospital.

Marburgh said they’re also keeping their visiting hours limited, too, to protect patients and staff.

They’ve learned a lot from the last wave of COVID-19 cases that ended back in February, she said, and they’re hopeful it’s enough.

“I often say that we’ll build an airplane while we’re flying on it. So we still have to make sure that we have looked at every potential possibility, and how do we handle those particular items,” Marburgh said.

One key thing working in their favor: vaccinations.

Although Mississippi lags the nation with just 31 percent of residents fully vaccinated, the percentage is far higher among those 65 and above.

“That really changes everything, you know, the majority, the vast majority of our older folks have been vaccinated. And that’s the real blessing in this,” said Dobbs.

At the same time, he’s urging more to get the shot, too, in spite of reports of a handful of doctors in Mississippi advising their patients not to get the vaccine.

“I know of two doctors who are out there making a bunch of noise. But I know thousands of doctors who are strong advocates for science, thousands of doctors who are strong advocates for getting vaccinated, you know,” Dobbs said. “Pay attention to the science, you know, don’t listen to nut jobs.”

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